Posts Tagged ‘steak’
I walk through South Lake Union several times a week. The neighbourhood is busy during the week, especially on the Westlake thoroughfare from Whole Foods to Harrison. I noticed the construction site on the corner of Harrison and Terry many months ago and didn’t know it was Cactus until recently. I love the pink window frames!
Next to the trio of Tom Douglas restaurants in the Terry Avenue Building and opposite Portage Bay Café, it is an emerging dining hub. The eateries already do brisk business on weekdays but foot traffic is minimal on weekends.
Cactus is located in an elongated room with a high ceiling. A bar is at the entrance and the dining room splits to the right and left. A private function room is on the mezzanine level. Floor-to-ceiling glass filters in natural light and patterned cylindrical lampshades are elegant and muted in contrast to the colourful furnishings. Chairs were painted and upholstered in azure, lime, saffron and copper.
We were seated at a booth on a quiet Sunday lunch service. Hand painted motifs featured on each wooden table. The modern and vibrant space is welcoming and cheerful.
Mango agua fresca, a fizzy beverage of agave nectar, fresm lime, mango, mint and sparkling water was refreshing.
The other Cactus restaurants are in Alki Beach, Kirkland and Madison Park and each has a unique logo which is printed on the serviettes.
We nibbled on salsa, guacamole and corn chips while we perused the menu. The salsa casera, homemade salsa, was appetisingly piquant.
A basket of warm corn chips was plentiful for the bowl of guacamole. Avocado, cilantro, lime, onion, serrano chillis and pico de gallo mashed together as a chunky dip.
Mr S selected the fajitas with grilled skirt steak. A plate of condiments and warm flour tortillas accompanied the sizzling skillet of Spanish rice, cumin black beans and caramelised onions. There is a rustic charm in wrapping ingredients and eating it by hand.
There are two tacos per serving and the kitchen kindly accommodated my request to mix and match. Spanish rice and cumin black beans were requisite for a Mexican meal.
On a house made white corn tortilla, the pescado had a fillet of battered fish, coriander and pasilla coleslaw, pico de gallo and buttermilk crema. A little soggy, the flaky white fish absorbed the tangy flavours that were tempered by the squirt of buttermilk crema.
The second taco was carnitas Yucatecas, Carlton Farms pork in achiote marinade and roasted in banana leaves, caramelised pineapple, Cotija cheese and red onion escabeche. It is a delectable combination of tender meat, sweet pineapple and pickled onions.
Flan is a one of my favourite desserts and this three milk Cuban flan is one of the best I’ve tasted. The sepia toned custard was poised in a puddle of sticky sauce. It was firm, smooth and creamy, topped with a vanilla speckled layer of caramel.
Cactus is a welcomed addition to South Lake Union!
We only knew a handful of people when we moved to Seattle. Ms D-R, an Irish American, has been hospitable and introduced us to some of her friends. We joined them this month at Poppy for their restaurant club. The ‘host’ is rotated each month and is responsible for selecting the restaurant and booking a table.
At the Lake Union end of Broadway East in the gentrified neighbourhood of Capitol Hill, Poppy has a modern décor in a comfortable and spacious room. Birch toned with poppy accents and exposed brick walls; an open plan kitchen is lined with glass jars of herbs and spices.
I was early so I sat at the bar and sipped a glass of ‘Poppy hour’ Tempranillo and was entertained by the bar staff’s stories from the dining room. The menu was held upright with a wooden peg.
I was thankful the restaurant was moderately lit and the din was just a gentle hum.
There were about a dozen appetisers and the specialty was thali, an Indian meal. The definition of thali was printed on the front of the menu, ‘a round tray on which a variety of small dishes are served, all at once, to each guest’.
After we ordered I took a peek at the herb garden which is at the back of the restaurant. The wooden beds were full of thriving plants.
Our group shared the eggplant fries with sea salt and honey, and batata wada, potato fritters with cilantro lime sauce. The lightly battered batons were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.
Batata wada were spicy balls of starch and the citrus sauce was refreshing.
There were various combinations of seven and ten item thalis and vegetarian options. Our patient waitress explained we could substitute and add components. I was starving and chose the ten item thali.
Clockwise from top: beet yoghurt soup with avocado cream, Swiss chard gratin (hidden), nigella poppy naan, roasted cauliflower with apple and dill, seared scallops with lentils, pickled onions and black pepper lime Hollandaise, radicchio salad, pickled Asian pear, persimmon salad, and Berkshire pork ribs with pear, chestnut and vanilla.
The salads of radicchio and persimmon were crunchy and zingy.
Ladled into a mini cup, the beet yoghurt soup had a concentrated earthy flavour.
Bite size cubes of pickled Asian pear were a palate cleanser. Charred and caramelised, the roasted cauliflower with apple and dill were mildly sweet.
I have an aversion to pumpkin and squash. Roasted, puréed or in a pie, I generally won’t eat it. I tasted a spoonful of the mashed delicata squash and was surprised by the smooth, spiced purée. The Swiss chard gratin was a favourite comfort food; the leafy nutritious greens were baked with bread crumbs until browned.
Two plump scallops were grilled and rested on a bed of lentils in black pepper lime Hollandaise sauce and topped with threads of pickled onions. The bivalves were well cooked, its briny freshness highlighted by the acidic garnish.
The chunky Berkshire pork rib was tender and fatty, and pear, chestnut and vanilla was a classic pairing with a twist.
Mr S swapped the Berkshire pork rib for wagyu coulotte steak. Grilled to medium rare, the richness of the premium marbled beef was tempered by the garlic chive and caper salsa verde.
We were too full to be tempted by the dessert thali!
Disclosure: I received a demo product from Duo PR. This is not a sponsored post.
I loved the convenience of the SousVide Supreme Demi. Any combination of protein, and dry or solid seasoning can be vacuum sealed in a food grade plastic pouch and cooked sous vide. A homely dinner can be prepared quickly with ingredients in the fridge and pantry.
I followed this recipe for sous vide steak. A slab of butter, bruised garlic cloves and sprigs of thyme were added to the sirloin sprinkled with salt and pepper.
The portions were submerged at sixty degrees Celsius for at least forty five minutes to cook the steak to medium. You can adjust the temperature to cook the steak to your preference.
With the sirloin steak in the water oven, I cut up vegetables for roasting, and caramelised onions and sautéed mushrooms for a sauce.
I skipped the final step of searing and served the sirloin sliced. The meat was buttery and tender, and a perfect medium.
The only limitation was cooking steaks to different levels of doneness but Mr S was happy to compromise.
I’m an omnivore. I love roasted and stir-fried vegetables, and my daily sugar intake is mostly from fruits. I also love barbecued lamb cutlets, pulled pork tacos, traditional roasts, duck confit, prosciutto and Hainan chicken rice. But I feel no love for steak.
A slab of meat on a plate swimming in its own juices and oozing blood is how I think of steak. It was with trepidation that I descended the steps into Morton’s The Steakhouse for dinner with two visiting Aussies.
In contrast, Mr S was buzzing with anticipation. A metallic cow sculpture dangled ominously over the staircase as we lowered ourselves into the basement restaurant.
We sat at the bar and sipped apéritifs as we waited for our dining companions. Russet coloured wood panels and dim lighting created a Mad Men like atmosphere, thankfully the smoke haze was absent.
My lemon drop was sharp and tart, and I discreetly licked all the sugar off the rim of the cocktail glass!
Fast talking and in a suit, our waiter presented the menu with a flourish. A trolley was wheeled over by our table, laden with all the cuts of beef and a basket of vegetables. ‘And this is the potato.’ He said in his deep voice with such gravity that I find myself nodding in agreement, ‘yes that is indeed a potato’.
After much deliberation over the menu, where the word ‘jumbo’ featured prominently, our waiter delivered the complimentary bread. Pillowy and warm, the size and shape of the gigantic bun reminded me of a damper. I was starving so I tore at this with gusto but Mr H reminded me of the impending courses.
We each selected a seafood appetiser of which there was total photo fail due to the poor lighting. We played musical chairs with our food so we had a taste of all four dishes.
The essence of lobster was distilled into the creamy bisque. The jumbo lump crabmeat cocktail and colossal shrimp Alexander were aptly named, jumbo and colossal respectively. Succulent and juicy, the broiled sea scallops were perfect without the bacon jacket they were wearing.
I deftly averted a Brussel sprouts crisis and we shared sides of grilled jumbo asparagus and jumbo potato skins. The drum sticks size spears were unfortunately overcooked but the potato skins were charred and chewy.
Below is the prime rib bone-in double cut that Mr S ordered. I didn’t take a photo of my medium well steak as it was blackened. I stared at my chunk of protein for several minutes, inspecting it from all angles. I finally picked up the serrated knife and carved in. The caramelised surface had protected the meat, it was tender and a little fatty. I ate a third and took the leftover home.
I was in need of a sweet conclusion to this heavy meal and I opted for their ‘legendary hot chocolate cake’. Small in comparison to every other dish on the menu, this dessert was a delight.
A gentle nudge of the spoon broke the shell and a torrent of molten chocolate cascaded over the plate. The vanilla ice cream cuddled up to the warm pudding and each mouthful was a lovely blend of the two flavours and temperatures.
When I caught a glimpse of this, I thought the waiter had brought the complimentary bread by mistake. This is the raspberry soufflé for two!
We slowly ascended into the night, with two large bags as evidence of our Morton’s experience.